This is a question about female hormones, menstruation, outbreaks, and yeast infections. Yes, all of those! Everywhere I have looked for info about women and herpes(and I have really, really looked) only talks about outbreaks being common during periods or herpes and pregnancy. My questions have to do with women, but are about hormones. Please read and advise.
I was diagnosed with HSV-1 genitally last month. I first noticed that I had pain after sex, then I had a really bad yeast infection, then I got the flu, and then I found one blister near the opening of my vagina. I went straight to the doctor who told me that it looked like herpes, and 10 days later I got the test back positive for HSV-1, but not HSV-2 (she did a swab test). Oh, almost forgot to mention, I believe I caught this during my period (which, I now know, is when my immune system is down). That first outbreak lasted almost up to my next period. Then, a little more than two weeks later I felt like I had a yeast infection again. Horrible itching and white discharge. I called my doctor who didn't talk to me, but I did talk to a nurse who said that this is quite common for a woman with herpes to have "strange discharge, itching, or discomfort" right before her period. By Friday I thought that I saw another blister coming in and got completely down. Well, my period started Monday and the symptoms appear to be gone. Phew... very longwinded, but I wanted to give you the history.
NOW HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS: Is this normal for women? Does this happen to you? Has anyone tried different hormone therapy or different birth control pills to change the manner/timing of their outbreaks? I just recently went back on the pill (Ortho Tri-Cyclen), could this have anything to do with the recurrance?
Unfortunately, I don't really like my doctor and she's not particularly helpful. I'm considering calling a herpes hotline while I look for a more informed doctor, but I would love some advice now. Will I break out in itchy yeast infections every month? Also, on the topic, does anyone know a really good GYN in New York City who is up-to-date on herpes treatments?
I've gone to all of the major herpes sites and asked for a specialist in NY via email. Also, I'm going to check out those books this weekend. In the interim, does anyone else on this board know about the pill or alternative methods of hormonal birth control and their effects on outbreaks?
I know that there is a pill regiment where you take the pill constantly. This results in never having a period or only having one every few months. I know it sounds dangerous, but many doctors actually prescribe this for women. Doesn't this seem like something that could ward off the monthly outbreaks?
When I had my first OB, I had no idea what it was. It was RIGHT on my clitoris, and felt like a hot knife was being plunged in there. I had no GP at the time, having just moved back to town. I found one in the phonebook, and went to wait. Everyone in the waiting room was over 80! Not to be ageist, but alarm bells started to ring. The doc was a creepy old woman who stank of smoke. She examined me briefly, leering all the while, and declared that it was an injury from sex and there was nothing I could do! I fled.
After desperate calls fo hospitals, I heard almost by accident about the brilliant clinic I have now been with for ten years...
Again, I'm not a doctor but I wonder if the hormones to stop menstruation are meant only for a short term thing. I can't imagine it would be healthy on an ongoing, long term basis! A woman's womb is specifically designed for cyclical shedding of the endometrial lining...until menopause, which affects the whole body and comes with health risks all its own. I'd be afraid of the consequences if you tried to simulate menopause like that for long. And I don't know if it would suppress OBs or not. I don't think I'd recommend it except as an absolute last resort.
If you're determined to try a hormonal approach, I wonder if going on the pill might help by stabilising and regulating the hormones during the cycle? Again, as a last resort you might talk to a doc about it.
I'm not determined to find a hormonal approach, I just want to know if there is anything out there that has tested the effects of the pill on outbreaks. The main reason I am wondering is because I went back on birth control pills (Ortho Tri-Cyclen) right around the time I had my first outbreak. I'm just wondering if the fact that they are tri-cycled might change my hormones so much that it induces an ob, or if even being on the pill is better or worse in general. Because women tend to have outbreaks around their period, doesn't it make sense that HSV somehow responds to our hormones?
OK, I'm finding a doc soon who knows what s/he is talking about and will let you all know. Hopefully I'll have as much luck as Garnet on finding a great place! I have a feeling that we could talk about it forever on here, but we won't know anything until we get some stats on this.
Thanks for all of the advice and stories, everybody!
I went back on birth control pills (Ortho Tri-Cyclen) right around the time I had my first outbreak. [...] Because women tend to have outbreaks around their period, doesn't it make sense that HSV somehow responds to our hormones?
Well that seems logical, but our bodies are incredibly complex and there may be other factors in play. You might try changing the type of pill you're on and see if it makes a difference.
I have a feeling that we could talk about it forever on here, but we won't know anything until we get some stats on this.
Well, in the absence of extensive research about how these two areas are related, we still have our collective experiences to share, which is what these boards are for. Besides, statistics aren't everything and they never tell the whole story IMO.